Kickstarter is a great platform to launch innovative ideas, test them and the support they might get and efficiently fund their implementation.
However, as a recent case confirmed, it is also a platform where scams can easily pull through. Unless the Federal Trade Commission is watching, and then the scammer is in for a treat.
Since Kickstarter was founded, as much as 86,731 projects found their way to the light thanks to the unabated support of backers. 22,252 Kickstarter projects have been funded with 500 million dollars by 3.3 million people just in 2014.
From the most innovative technologies to Halloween costumes to whimsical games, every projects finds its way on the crowdfunding platform. It depends on community support if it succeeds or fails.
There are however those cases where the fail factor lies somewhere else, not with the support of the Kickstarter backers.
Such a case is that of Erik Chevalier, who launched a project for a board game in 2012. Chevalier titled the game “The Doom that Came to Atlantic City” and needed a support of 35,000 dollars. For a pledge of 50 dollars, Kickstarter backers would receive their own copy of the board game. Up to 2,500 dollars, the backers would receive super extra tiers in rewards.
The game was illustrated by Lee Moyer and developed in cooperation with Keith Baker. Other prominent artists such as Paul Komoda pledged to design the characters for the game in collaboration with H.R.Giger, special effects master.
The initial success of the Kickstarter campaign for Chevalier’s “The Doom that Came to Atlantic City” was resounding. The sum he initial needed almost tripled to 122,874 dollars from 1,200 supporters.
The campaign went wrong when Forking Path, Erik Chevalier’s company, failed to deliver on the final results of the campaign. Supporters were to receive their money back, yet, in Chevalier’s words:
“After paying to form the company, for the miniature statues, moving back to Portland, getting software licenses and hiring artists to do things like rule book design and art conforming the money was approaching a point of no return”.
Returning the money never happened. The Federal Trade Commission intervened at this point. To this extent, officials stated that personal expenses were prioritized over the delivery of the “The Doom That Came To Atlantic City” and Chevalier was fined with a total of 111,793.71 dollars.
Due to Erik Chevalier’s inability to pay, the Federal Trade Commission suspended the fine and instead managed to reach a mild settlement with Chevalier.
Nonetheless, the full sum will be brought back to the table if further investigations reveal that the initial creator of “The Doom that Came to Atlantic City” purposefully misrepresented his financial status.
Image Source: bossythecow.com